As a minimalist, I often found that shopping for a baby was, surprisingly, one of the less enjoyable experiences of my pregnancy. There were just so many options and seemingly endless decision-making for products I knew nothing about. How would I know which items my baby would prefer; which products I would prefer?
The truth is, I wouldn’t. Until my baby arrived, I could only read reviews, listen to advice and heed the wisdom of those before me. And then, once my sweet newborn bundle was in my arms, I could do little more than trust that I had fastened a nest she could be comforted in. Yet now that my sweet newborn bundle is a bright-eyed six-month-old, I’m still figuring out what her needs (and mine) might be as she grows and changes throughout the various stages of baby-dom. Such is the nature of parenthood, right?
Still, there are a few necessities that I found incredibly helpful during those early days of postpartum adjustments – and beyond. Below, I’ve listed what I like to call the Essential Toolkit For First-Time Mothers: The Postpartum Edition. You’ll find a slew of items that kept me afloat before, during and shortly after the transition from woman to mother. Each product will include a few different options, because as we all know, every mama is different! (Note: Any asterisk* is a product or brand I use – and love! – in my own home.)
Go on; stock up on these necessities before you welcome that bundle of joy, and rest easy knowing you’re going to be an amazing mother – whatever the size, shape or color your nest might be.
1. Nursing Balm
One of my biggest surprises of motherhood was just how painful nursing turned out to be. If you plan to nurse, keep a few tubes of nursing balm on hand for soothing relief of cracked and sore nipples. What To Try: Medela Tender Care Lanolin ($9.99) or Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm ($14)
You’re baby may not take to a pacifier right away (or ever!), so don’t worry about investing in multiples until you’re sure you’ve got a super-sucker on your hands. What To Try: Natursutten Orthodontic Pacifier ($7.95) or Dr. Browns Perform Pacifier ($6)
Our newborn slept in our room for the first few weeks before we developed any sort of schedule, so a bassinet was essential for safe, worry-free Zzzs.
5. Car Seat
For follow-up trips to the doctor and the obligatory drive-around-the-block-to-soothe-the-baby-to-sleep car rides, a car seat will likely get quite a bit of use in those early days.
Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat & Base G2 ($440) or
Maxi-Cosi Mico Infant Car Seat ($189.99).
6. Baby Carrier
During those first trying (crying?) months the only thing that would, without a doubt, calm Bee was a ride in her carrier. What To Try: ERGOBaby Organic Carrier ($135), Beco Gemini Baby Carrier ($129) or Moby Organic Wrap ($62.95)
7. Nasal Aspirator
File this under “Products You’ll Forget About Until It’s 2AM And The Baby Is Congested.” Nasal aspirators aren’t the fanciest items to purchase for baby, but are life-savers when your little bundle is suffering from a stuffy nose.
8. Baby Mittens
Who knew those tiny nails could be so sharp? Baby mittens were a must for our own little one, who loved to fall asleep scratching her cheeks. What To Try: Satsuma Designs Bamboo Baby Mittens ($10) or Guavakids Baby Mittens ($12)
9. Rocker / Glider
I’d never imagined falling asleep in a rocker until those dream feedings crept into my life. A comfortable rocker was one of the best investments I ever made!
Congratulations mamas and happy shopping!
About the Writer: Erin Loechner began blogging (or web logging / online journaling, if you will) top ten lists and childhood stories in 2001 as a college freshman. Although her love for the medium hasn’t changed, the subject matter has evolved into a small corner of the Internet she uses to collect curiosities and display her findings accordingly. She can be found blogging at Design for Mankind and Design for MiniKind.
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